Tag Archives: memories attached to jewelry

Grandma’s Charms

My grandma had an awesome chunky, clunky charm bracelet.

It had sixty-five bajillion charms on it, and it clanked whenever she shook her wrist.

She died in 1982, while I was at summer camp.

I don’t know to whom her charm bracelet was willed, but I never saw  — or heard — it again.

Fast forward three years. My senior year of high school, two friends of mine and I fancied ourselves jewelry makers and set up shop stringing rainbow-colored beads onto tiny black fishing lures.

Our plan?

To become famous jewelry makers.

Or maybe to earn just enough money to see the next Grateful Dead Show.

{Or maybe that was just my plan.}

Anyway, after school and on weekends, we bought miniscule black fishing lures and itsy-bitsy multi-colored seed beads and transformed these cheap components into semi-hideous totally fabulous earrings, bracelets and necklaces.

We hawked our wares during periods 5, 6 and 7 lunch and sold everything for under $5.

And then my left thumbnail split in two.

And that was it; we were out of business.

Still, it was good while it lasted.

While our little business was booming, I got to table together with two friends. And as we slumped over flat surfaces sorting beads and determining color schemes, we talked about our lives: the boys we liked, what we thought we might do after college, where we might eventually land.

Our stuff was not fancy, but people seemed to like it. And it was wonderful to see someone delight in wearing something that we had made.

Recently, I saw these really adorable bracelets.

They don’t call ’em cutey for nothin’!

I immediately liked the colorful bead combinations, especially one bracelet with a whimsical heart-drop dangle featuring two people smooching.

I like that bauble a lot.

I like to roll the round smooth beads between my fingers and see if I can guess which one is which just by the way it feels.

Even though this bracelet is nothing like the junk kind my friends and I created in high school — nor is it like the one my grandmother wore — the clinking sounds strangely familiar.

So now I jingle a bit, and — happily — it reminds me of old friends.

And of my grandmother.

Pieces of my life’s history in metal and beads.

Who could have known that this little bracelet would bring me such sweet memories?

Tell me about a favorite piece of symbolic jewelry.

tweet me @rasjacobson

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